Cody McIntyre

    Wednesday, July 06, 2016

    Tuntutuliak, Alaska

    Nineteen-year-old Cody McIntyre is a typical Yup’ik boy from rural Alaska. He grew up living a subsistence lifestyle, he plays basketball with his friends and has a strong passion for his cultural heritage. What sets Cody apart from others in his village of Tuntutuliak is his love for math and finding solutions to problems. Through a desire to help others and with support from the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program, Cody is on a mission to share the challenges of living in rural Alaska with the world through a documentary filmed in his hometown. 

    Cody first learned about ANSEP when a recruiter came to his school to promote the program and discuss college readiness. That summer Cody came to ANSEP for the first time and participated in Acceleration Academy, which led to him acing algebra 2, calculus, chemistry and physics all while still in high school. The summer before college, he participated in Summer Bridge, taking trigonometry and completing an engineering internship with the U.S. Forest Service. This experience made Cody realize what he wanted to do with his future.

    “During my internship, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do with my degree and how I could use it to somehow help my community and give back to them. A lot of people don’t realize the hardships we go through out there,” said Cody. “Through the internship I learned what civil engineers do, how to find water sources, the environmental aspects of the career – it was all really interesting. It got me thinking about how I could bring running water to the people of my village.”

    This fall, Cody will begin his second year at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). His goal is to earn his bachelor’s and master’s in engineering to bring running water to villages in rural Alaska and help develop communities that are less fortunate.

    It’s not widely known that clean water is nearly nonexistent in rural Alaska. In fact, many villages like Cody’s do not have access to running water and therefore must rely on the use of water basins and honey buckets. Residents collect rainwater during the summer and gather clean ice from rivers or lakes during the winter to melt for water. According to Cody, not having running water is one of the biggest health problems in his village; however, it’s become a way of life because of their remote location. That’s why he’s decided to start a nonprofit to support this important mission.

    “A lot of people don’t realize that this is how we live in the village, and it’s a serious health hazard,” Cody said. “I want to show people what it’s like to live the Yup’ik lifestyle – how we must hunt and fish for food with no running water – I think it’s a story that needs to be told. My goal with the nonprofit is to raise awareness about the hardships people go through and help develop smaller communities.”

    Cody is telling the story of his village and others like his through a documentary film that he hopes to publish in the next couple years following several visits to his hometown during downtime. Visit the Paimiu Films Facebook page to follow along on Cody’s journey toward building a better future for his people and for Alaska.